Around two million women1 face difficulties in work because of one of the workplace’s biggest taboos: the menopause. That’s a significant number of women currently dealing with symptoms which can be severe and temporarily debilitating. And traditionally, very hard to talk about.

Workplace experts Acas have today published new guidance to help employers and managers break the silence to support staff who are affected by menopause symptoms at work.

While there are an increasing number of women speaking out about the impact that the menopause can have, we are only just beginning to shift the stigma that stops conversations and leaves women and employers lacking the right support and information. Nearly a third of women surveyed in a CIPD poll2 (30%) said they had taken sick leave because of their symptoms, but only a quarter of them felt able to tell their manager the real reason for their absence, because of “embarrassment” and/or “an unsupportive manager.”

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, shares why the new guidance is crucial for businesses, and how it can help both employers and employees:

“Menopause will impact many working women who may feel too embarrassed to raise symptoms that are having a detrimental impact on their work. This can result in affected staff taking time off work unnecessarily when some simple measures could help them to continue to work comfortably.

“Our new advice can help employers make their workplaces inclusive and welcoming to all their staff with top tips around how to manage menopause effectively at work and keep within the law.”

Acas’ new guidance includes practical tips for employers, line managers and employees on how to create a supportive and productive culture around the menopause, as well as information on best practise and the law.

(Ever wondered if the menopause can amount to a disability? The answer is in their guidance…)

You can read the guidance and find a menopause training course near you at:

1. According to the latest statistics from the ONS,4 million women aged 50-64are in work. The CIPD estimate that the vast majority of these women will go through the menopause transition during their working lives and six in 10 menopausal women have said that it has had a negative impact on their work.

2. CIPD Poll